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Furthermore …

Lack of leadership

Fort Wayne’s last mayoral race, in 2011, was competitive and brought perhaps the sharpest, most biting campaigns this city has seen for at least a generation. Paula Hughes won a competitive three-person race for the GOP nomination, then began trading barbs, accusations and overblown attacks against incumbent Tom Henry, whose campaign was equally virulent.

The small town of Little Mountain, S.C., (population 292) is having the opposite problem: No one wants to be mayor.

No one ran for mayor this year, the New York Times noted. After serving 16 years, the incumbent doesn’t want the job, even after receiving 20 write-in votes. Another local resident was named 67 times in write-in votes, but he doesn’t want the job.

The ranking member of the town council is next in line to assume the mayor’s chair. But he – you guessed it – doesn’t want the job either.

Fort Wayne’s mayor has a $140 million budget to run a city of 250,000 and faces major issues with taxes, street funding, water pollution projects and maintaining public safety protection.

Little Mountain’s budget is $90,000, and the big issue there is whether alcohol should be served at the annual town reunion.

The town is going to try again in March with a special election.

Still making the minimum in 2013

Employees in 10 states are earning more this week than last, thanks to increases in their states’ minimum-wage rate. Indiana’s lowest-paid workers aren’t among them.

Jan. 1 saw minimum-wage hikes of 10 cents to 35 cents an hour in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. The Economic Policy Institute estimates the wage increases will boost the nation’s gross domestic product by about $183 million, as low-paid employees have more money to spend on basic needs.

Indiana workers, however, will continue to earn the minimum federal rate of $7.25 an hour.

Minimum-wage workers in Illinois earn $8.25 an hour, while Ohio’s earn $7.70 an hour and Michigan’s earn $7.40 an hour.

The federal minimum wage does not account for inflation, so its value declines every year unless Congress approves an increase.

The current federal rate will lose nearly 20 percent of its real value over the next 10 years and have the purchasing power of only $5.99 in today’s dollars, according the National Employment Law Project.

Federal legislation that was introduced last July would help recover much of this lost value by raising the federal minimum wage to $9.80 by 2014 and adjusting the minimum wage annually to keep pace with the cost of living.

The Fair Minimum Wage Act also would raise the minimum wage for workers who receive tips from its current rate of just $2.13 per hour, where it has been frozen since 1991, to $6.85 over five years.

It would then be fixed at 70 percent of the full minimum wage.